The price of pork has skyrocketed this year. In the commodities market, lean pork futures cost $1.27 a pound, that's up from 86 cents at the start of the year -- a 47.7 percent increase.
Traders are concerned about the spread of a deadly virus in the U.S. hog population. Pig herds have been hit by the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which is 80 percent to 100 percent fatal in newborn piglets. The first case in the U.S. was confirmed last spring and the virus has spread through herds during the cold winter. Although the virus threatens livestock, it's not harmful to human health and doesn't pose a food safety concern.
The outbreak is troubling for Tyson Foods -- the country's second largest pork producer -- but it's not a crisis. That's because Tyson purchases hogs from various producers. Unlike its chicken operations, Tyson does not operate hog farms. So while its profit margins may be impacted as it pays more for hogs, Tyson is in a position to pass along some of those price increases to consumers.
What's more, pork generated just 13 percent of the company's $34.4 billion in revenue last year. That's behind beef at 41 percent, and chicken at 36 percent.Associated Press